Targetedconsideration of racial bias’s or racial profiling by law enforcement, issomething that the highest courts have reviewed constitutional grounds severaltimes, including whether such profiling constitutes a violation of the FourthAmendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure or the equalprotections provided and guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment. Under the Fourth Amendment, the constitutionprotects and allows people the right to be secure in their houses persons,effects, and paper, against unreasonable searches and seizures, and shall notbe violated. Terry v. Ohio, 1968 The Supreme Courtfound that reasonable, articulate suspicion was enough grounds for any policeofficer to stop and question a citizen.
Such the suspicion must never be basedon any officer’s ” unjustifiablesuspicion or ‘hunch,’ but on the Reasonable and specific inference which he isable to draw facts from his experience.” Terryemployed a totality of circumstances test to determine the reasonableness ofpolice investigatory stops.A “Pre-textual”traffic stop is a hotly debated, highly criticized form of racial profilingthat has involved “pretextual stop, detaining those members of a minorityfor routine traffic violations in order to conduct a criminal investigation. Whren v. United States (1996) were two drivers who werecharged with drug offenses based on evidence discovered after they were pulled overfor pausing at a stop sign. Turning without using a signaling device and imprudenttake off speed. The court held and affirmed “that the Fourth Amendment is notviolated when a minor traffic infraction is a pretext rather than the actualmotivation for a stop by law enforcement officers.
” (Johnson,2010) The Whren case did not however, hold that the police officers’motivation for stop was entirely irrelevant when probable cause for a stop isbased on a traffic violation. “The Constitution prohibits selectiveenforcement of the law based on considerations such as race. But theconstitutional basis for objecting to intentionally discriminatory applicationof laws is the equal protection clause, not the Fourth Amendment. Subjectiveintentions play no role in ordinary, probable-cause Fourth Amendmentanalysis.
” (Johnson, 2010)The fourteenthamendment states “No state shall deny to any person within itsjurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” With regard to the Whren ruling in 1996, racial profiling has become verysusceptible to two different kinds of equal protection challenges in the eyesof the court. First, respondents may argue conduct of a law enforcementofficial may be racially motivated and that the law enforcement official stoppedor questioned the suspect because of racial prejudice. Thus if any lawenforcement agency or official adopts and employs any practice in any situationand takes steps to start any investigation of a citizen in the united statesbased solely upon that citizen’s racial make up or further more, then aviolation of the equal protection clause under the fourteenth amendment hasoccurred.The idea of racialprofiling and proof of discriminatory intent within the context of the law isnothing new. Especially when looking at due process and whether or not discriminationhas occurred or the intention was absolved. This is overtly true in looking atspecific cases such as in Arnold V.
Ballard (1978) the Supreme court statedthat “In determining whether the nature of discriminatory actions were amotivating factor behind a law enforcement officers reasons and demands, theremust be a sensitive and arduous inquiry into such circumstantial and directevidence of intent as may be available.” Absent to all of this is evidence of policemotivation and any overtly discriminatory policy to evidence of racial bias’s,respondents face burdens of an evidentiary nature. Any petitioner allegingselective enforcement of neutral laws of the constitution must validate thatthe challenged law enforcement actions and practice “had a discriminatorynature of effect and that it was provoked by a discriminatory action and purpose.”In United States v.
Armstrong, each of the criminaldefendants filed motions to strike their drug charges and firearms charges asselective prosecution based on racial bias’s. The SCOTUS rejected the motion tostrike because similarly there’s no idea that and no exhibition that criminalprosecutors treated defendants of another race different than others in thesame situation. Justice Reinquist wrote ” a selective prosecution claim is nota defense against a crime but an independent assertion that the prosecutor hasbrought the charge for reasons forbidden by the constitution. Thus, when adefendant makes such a harsh assertion, he should be prepared to prove it”(Justia, U.S. V Armstrong, 1996).